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Newly Elected Right-Wing Swedish Government Shutters Environment Ministry

Opposition lawmakers say the move threatens to undermine the nation’s chances of meeting its climate targets.

Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson addresses supporters during his conservative Moderate Party's election party at the Clarion Sign Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, on September 11, 2022.

In one of its first moves after taking power Tuesday, Sweden’s newly elected right-wing government scrapped the country’s environment ministry, drawing outrage from opposition lawmakers who say the step threatens to undermine the nation’s chances of meeting its climate targets.

Per Bolund, the leader of the Swedish Greens, wrote on social media that the axing of the environment ministry shows “how little this government values ​​the environment and the climate.”

“This is a historic decision with devastating consequences for environmental issues,” Bolund added, noting that Sweden will now be without a separate environment ministry for the first time in five decades.

Pär Holmgren, a Swedish meteorologist and member of the European Parliament, also expressed outrage on Twitter.

Following the change announced by right-wing Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, new environment minister Romina Pourmokhtari will work under the minister for energy, business, and industry, Ebba Busch.

Busch is the leader of Sweden’s Christian Democrats, part of the right-wing coalition now governing the country after winning a slim majority in September’s elections. The bloc includes the Sweden Democrats, a far-right xenophobic party.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that “Kristersson’s government is heavily dependent on the nationalist Sweden Democrats, the only party in parliament that doesn’t back the country’s target of having net zero emissions by 2045.”

“The four-party alliance that agreed on forming the new government last week said they would seek to lower fuel prices, partly by reducing the percentage of biofuels that has to be mixed into gas and diesel to the minimum level required by the European Union,” Bloomberg noted. “That would make it more difficult to reach a target of reducing transport emissions by 70% by 2030.”

Kristersson is also pushing for an expansion of nuclear power, aiming to reverse earlier efforts to dismantle the country’s reactors.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Kristersson said “Sweden’s goal on electricity production would change from ‘100% renewable’ to ‘100 percent fossil-free,’ which leaves room for nuclear energy.”

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